Newberry Posted June 20, 2008 Share Posted June 20, 2008 This is in response to the thread: Shaya, Objectivism and KindnessI can see I have been approaching this all wrong. So let me tell you a different kind of story.Several years ago an open men’s doubles tournament was being held at the tennis club I taught at. The first seeded team were the reigning Men’s 35 and over champions of Southern California. I could have found a peer to have as a partner, or a strong 17 year old. But, there was a little skinny kid, 12/13 year old, and he could weld magic with his racket; he reminded me of the country song about the guy who could out fiddle the devil himself. From all the players at the club, he would have the most benefit to gain from playing in the tournament. So he and I teamed up. Introducing kids into Men’s tennis is a bit tricky--the strength of the play can pulverize a kid, no matter how good they are. And there was one other problem: the kid had idolized great players from the past, and he was switching from a two-handed backhand to a one-hander. Even at 12/13 he was a little late to make so profound a change. So he walked onto the court as if he had his left arm tied behind his back. He and I made a pretty good team and we worked our way through the draw until we got the semi-finals, the final four teams. Where we met the No. 1 team. They were a seasoned team, and one of them was a Goliath, 6'3", lefty, and he hit the ball at you like there was ton of bricks behind his shot. These guys were putting all their strategy and strength behind destroying the kid’s yet to be formed one-handed backhand. There was a point in which the kid was crying. He knew if he could only go back to using his two-hander, he might be able to counter the onslaught. Even with the relentless attack on the kid’s weak side we were holding are own in the match, we only needed a fraction more of the something extra to turn the match. We both knew that if he went back to his two-hander, that would give us what we needed to win. All I need do was tell him to use his two-hander. But I knew why he was changing over to the one-hander-- he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his tennis heroes. It was now or never. If he didn’t keep to the one-hander, he would never have the fortitude to make the change. Through the tears and frustration, he kept to the one-hander, even though we both wanted to win. In one rally, I put up a poorly executed defensive lob right into the smashing zone of the Goliath, and my tiny partner was left unprotected right in the path of the hardest, fastest smash of the day, aimed right at his chest. Faster than you could blink, the kid ducked, whipped his racket around to protect his face, connected with the ball, ricocheted the ball with an increase in velocity for an outright winner. It was the most spectacular shot I had ever seen in tennis. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. Later that day I told the kid that he was a genius, and he told me that he wasn’t so good in school. “I don’t mean in school, you are a tennis genius. You have that rare ability to accomplish anything you want in this game.” I said. The story is true. And the kid was Pete Sampras. At this moment, he is arguably the greatest male tennis player that ever lived.------You see, I think there is greatness all around us, yet too many people influenced by altruistic ethics take talent for granted, and don’t appreciate how fragile and difficult it is for a potential great to hold to their vision, to feel it is real. I made the choice a long time ago to personally bring out my best and sympathize with others that feel likewise. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now